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Young couple transforms old Loire cave in unique home/rental

Alexis Lamoureux was looking for affordable housing for himself and his girlfriend Lotte van Riel when he rediscovered his great aunt’s old troglodyte home for sale by the local government in Amboise, France.

It had been abandoned for 35 years and in danger of collapse so the young couple picked it up for very little. Unable to get a bank loan, they decided to do as much of the work as possible themselves and to continue working (Lamoureux as a bartender) to pay for others to do the structural work.

Over the following four years, Lamoureux and Van Riel- both previously inexperienced in the trades- learned to plumb, wire and tile and created a stunning, modern cave home. “We were lucky enough to have a project and focus on it so all the money we had we just invested it in the place,” explains Lamoureux. Adds van Riel, “We stopped traveling, we just worked, worked, worked.”

When they finished their own home, they turned a second cave on the property, at one time used to store coal- into a nightly rental.